And they control us far more than we control them. We ignore this at our peril.
At my age (79) I can look back and see how some of these currents shaped my family’s life – especially my father’s life. The biggest event in his early life was the Great Depression – a very powerful social current that did a lot of people in. He survived by joining the Marine Corp – that gave him plenty of opportunity to run some small businesses – some of them not too ethical. He saved all his money, send it home to his mother – and when he went back, he bought a business, a photography studio.
It didn’t make much money, it was still the Depression – but WWII turned it into a gold mine. This was the powerful social current of my parent’s generation. It send down a lot of ships, but those that survived did very well. I benefited from the economy that resulted in the next 20 years – a college education cost little, and jobs were plentiful. Anyone who amounted to anything had a new car and a new home in the suburbs.
But now there were many photographers – and Dad’s studio went out of business. He started new businesses – but the era of the small business (including the family farm) was over – and he gradually faded away and died before reaching 60. This was the fate of many small businesses (and businessmen) – and it shocked me. No one else noticed.
They knew the post-war boom was over – and everyone had to adapt to this. That current had died, and was not going to be resurrected.
It was replaced by the Cold War – but that is another story.